The Elements of Drawing, John Ruskin’s teaching collection at Oxford

The Elements of Drawing, John Ruskin’s teaching collection at Oxford

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Mont Blanc from Saint-Martin-sur-Arve John Ruskin

  • Curator’s description:

    Description

    The summit of Mont Blanc is seen from the north-west, at the head of a valley between the Dome du Gouter and the peaks above the valley of the Arve. The peaks of the mountains are silhouetted against a small area of blue sky, and the white of the snow is sharply contrasted with areas of deep shadow cast by the two peaks on the right.

    Ruskin stayed at the Hôtel du Mont Blanc at Saint-Martin-sur-Arve on 7 October 1874, spent the following two nights at Prieure and then returned to the hotel at Saint-Martin for a further four nights. Made too late to be included in the earlier catalogues of the Educational Series, the drawing was first catalogued in the Teaching Collection shortly after it was made, in 1874, as no. 288 in the Educational Series, placed in Case XII, devoted to 'Rocks, Water, and Clouds'. It replaced Turner's sketch of the Dazio Grande (WA.RS.ED1.ED.XII.7.l) in this position which, in the 1871 Educational Series catalogue, was numbered 7 L. However, in his 1878 reorganisation of the series, Ruskin moved the drawing to no. 112, where it sat alongside other mountain scenes.

    In his manuscript catalogue of the Educational Series, Ruskin stated that he was particularly pleased with this sketch of 'the thing I have loved best', which emphasised the contrast between rock and snow. He went on to say that he included it there 'for various reasons not just now [i.e. 1878] to be told'. He included the drawing in his 1878 exhibition of his own and Turner's work, noting that it gave, approximately, 'the real contrast between rock and snow' (no. 32 R (a) = XIII.517-518). Another drawing of the Mont Blanc massif, also taken from the Hôtel du Mont Blanc, labelled as showing the state of snow on the mountain in 1849, is now in the Ruskin Foundation (no. 1997P4).

  • Details

    Artist/maker
    John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)
    Object type
    drawing
    Material and technique
    watercolour and bodycolour over graphite on wove paper
    Dimensions
    240 x 378 mm
    Associated place
    Provenance

    Presented by John Ruskin to the Ruskin Drawing School (University of Oxford), 1875; transferred from the Ruskin Drawing School to the Ashmolean Museum, c.1949.

    No. of items
    1
    Accession no.
    WA.RS.ED.288
  • Subject terms allocated by curators:

    Subjects

  • References in which this object is cited include:

    References

    Ruskin, John, ‘Notes By Mr. Ruskin ... on His Drawings by the Late J. M. W. Turner, R. A., [and] on His Own Handiwork Illustrative of Turner’, Edward T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, eds, The Works of John Ruskin: Library Edition, 39 (London: George Allen, 1903-1912), 13, no. 32 R (a) = XIII.517-518

    Taylor, Gerald, ‘John Ruskin: A Catalogue of Drawings by John Ruskin in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford’, 7 fascicles, 1998, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, no. 298

    Ruskin, John, Catalogue of the Educational Series (London: Spottiswoode, 1874), cat. Educational no. 288

    Ruskin, John, ‘The Ruskin Art Collection at Oxford: Catalogues, Notes and Instructions’, Edward T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, eds, The Works of John Ruskin: Library Edition, 39 (London: George Allen, 1903-1912), 21, cat. Educational no. 288

    Ruskin, John, ‘Educational Series 1878’, 1878, Oxford, Oxford University Archives, cat. Educational no. 112

Location

    • Western Art Print Room

Ruskin's Catalogues

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